I have long said that the electorate of the United States longs for another President like Harry Truman. Truman never aspired to the White House and was not enamored with the thought of being President. Truman was a Midwestern guy and was plain spoken. He did not couch what he said, had the courage of his convictions and famously said that the buck stopped with him. He was always ready to defend his comments and to my knowledge never had to “walk back” his statements or apologize for what escaped his mouth. After all, Truman was a seasoned politician having spent over 30 years as a public servant.
When Donald Trump emerged as a Presidential candidate some 14 months ago, many were first struck with his seemingly plain spoken manner and his lack of a teleprompter at his stump speeches. I heard some supporters comparing Trump to Truman and as it turns out, the two could not be further apart. Maybe that is why Trump is so open to the idea of using nuclear weapons: to be more like Truman who as we know is the only President in history to authorize their use in war time.
Never have I seen a candidate who speaks so indiscriminately in public. Perhaps it is his lack of political experience but I suspect there is a deeper pathology at work. Trump constantly opens his mouth, says something he has not thought about and then he and his surrogates spend the next three days cleaning it up while the left goes wild and the leaders in his own party chastise him. The latest comment, in a long line of comments, was made at a rally yesterday when he suggested that “the second amendment people” could maybe take care of Hillary. Trump and his megaphones are now saying he meant that supporters of the second amendment should band together and vote for Trump so Hillary won’t have the ability to appoint judges to the supreme court to uphold any gun legislation she might propose. Here’s how most people heard it. Somebody should take Hillary out. I mean let’s face it when you talk about “the second amendment people” you are talking about right wing gun nuts who wouldn’t hesitate to act especially if their candidate is encouraging them..
Part of Donald Trump’s appeal is the fact that he thinks “political correctness” has gone too far in the US and perhaps he is right but leaders, true leaders say what they mean and mean what they say. They call Ronald Reagan “the great communicator” because he spoke in careful terms and thought about what he wanted to convey before he opened his mouth. For Trump, this latest debacle is just another in a long line of statements that have been “misunderstood” or he meant it as a joke or didn’t really mean what he said. Can we really entrust the running of this country to a man who is constantly explaining what he meant to say or apologizing for what he said? Nothing will ever get done